Positive News: The Best Stories We’ve Seen This Week

paris cycling city

Positive News is an ongoing series from The Latch turning the spotlight on all the good in the world that you may have missed.

Life is tough and the news cycle ain’t helping anything right now. Disaster, drama, and death sell papers and get eyeballs on the page but they don’t do much for our mental health.

If you’ve felt like simply switching off from the constant barrage of updates charting the world’s lurch from one crisis to the next, we’re here to provide you with a much-needed antidote.

Good stuff happens all the time. It just doesn’t get quite the same coverage as bad stuff. That means we end up thinking that everything that’s going on in the world is terrible when it really isn’t.

This week there was so much good news that we decided to forgoe the typical five stories we normally serve you and bring you 14 of the best news pieces we’ve seen this week.

Here we go.

First up, Paris has unveiled plans to become a 100% cycle-able city. The French capital has said that it will create 180kms of purpose-built, separate bike lines by 2026. The move is designed to cut down on the traffic that typically chokes Parisian streets and make the city a greener environment.

It’s a little known fact that in Melbourne you can actually send each and every one of the city’s 70,000 trees an email. That’s right, the trees are online. It’s par tof a programme that has been run by the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest and Ecology Team since 2013 with every tree getting a unique ID and address. It was started to help the department monitor the health of urban trees, however, new reports say that people have mainly been emailing their favourite trees to tell them how much they appreciate them.

Aussie tales have been making a few international headlines this week with the news that a dog named Bear has been given a medal for his role in the black summer bushfires. Bear, a Koolie from the Sunshine Coast, sniffed out and saved the lives of over 100 injured Koalas during the fires. For his efforts, he received an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and, we can confirm, lots of pats.

bear koolie
Image: Bear accepting his award via video link / International Fund for Animal Welfare

In more animal news, the Ebo Forest Research Project in Cameroon has been training up locals from the Congo Basin in animal protection and welfare in an effort to employ individuals who had previously relied on poaching as a source of income. The programme is partially run by the San Diego Zoo and teaches locals how to care for rare primates that call the area home.

While we’re on the subject of primates, an endangered Sumatran orangutan at the New Orleans zoo is expecting twins. Twins are extremely rare in orangutans and the new pair could be critical to the survival of the species.

Now, we all know mushrooms are some of the most fascinating organisms in the world (that’s a thing we all agree on, right?), but now, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has declared that it will put new measures in place to protect fungi and save them from going extinct. When referring to life on Earth, they now state that the phrase ‘flora, fauna, and fungi’ will be used in place of the traditional former two.

Colombia, like much of Latin America, is a country that struggles with a culture of ‘machismo’ or aggressive masculinity. In the country’s capital, Bogota, a new hotline has been established that men can call when they are struggling with issues of machismo. The “calm line,” as it is called, is designed to help men deal with anger, violence, and the sense that men need to be dominant and assertive in an effort to address the culture of sexism.

In massive climate change news, a recent paper published by the University of Oxford has predicted that renewable energy is on the verge of becoming so cheap that it will completely eclipse the need for fossil fuels. Even without government support, the market is likely to wipe fossil fuels out in a matter of years as they become highly uncompetitive.

While it can seem like the climate is not being taken seriously enough, there are always glimmers of hope. In Holland this week, the countries largest pensions fund announced that it would be divesting itself of all of its fossil fuel assets. The ABP fund has around 15 billion euros in fossil fuels and manages the pensions of more than 3 million Dutch workers.

In India, the world’s third-largest country, renewable energies are being taken up at an incredible rate. This year alone, India has added 8.8 GW of solar energy to its national grid which represents over 2% of national energy usage. Earlier this year, India crossed the 100 GW output of renewables, meaning that well over a quarter of its energy now comes from green sources.

And in more good environmental news, the world’s first-ever report on the global health of the world’s coral has found that, if the organisms are given a brief break from hot temperatures, they can regrow. Evidence has shown that cool temperatures in the world’s oceans, which fluctuate year-to-year, could see coral regrow. There are also signs that some corals are adapting to warmer temperatures and scientists are fighting hard to protect the world’s reefs.

In COVID news, Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, has announced that it will share the formula for its COVID treatment pill with developing nations. It’s part of a global call to help poorer nations deal with the pandemic and relies on information and product sharing by richer countries.

Sticking with medical news for a second, a clinic in the US has announced that it will begin conducting the first ever trial of a breast cancer vaccine. The vaccine targets triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms, and researchers hope that their vaccine will be a “true preventative” for the disease.

And, last but certainly not least, Josh Cavallo has become the first openly gay male footballer to play at the top-level of the profession. Cavello plays for Adelaide United and has said that he is proud to be gay, taking a big step in an industry that is not known for its progressive culture.

“It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out,” Cavallo wrote on Twitter.

“I have been fighting my sexuality for over six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”

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